featured image ‘The Toffs and the Toughs’ by Jimmy Sime

For many long years now I have always hated the phrase “Oop North” especially when expressed by the metropolitan, London-centric media. As for the title, I should put an ‘r’ after the ‘a’ in the word ‘Classist’…but I’m better than that. And don’t get me started on Classist representations of DAR…that’s Definite Article Reduction…the famous northern t’. Patronising fookers!


When I see that double ‘o’ in “Oop North”
I lose my cool…my ire goes through the roof
Put out by some patronising scoophound
Who thinks I talk like that? Show me the proof!

Here the writer is making a judgement;
Portrays his subject as some kind of fool
Based on the assumption that his readers
Don’t live within two hundred miles of Goole

And speak in Received Pronunciation
Unlike this semi-literate baboon
Listen to the funny northerner talk
Straight from work…a twelve-hour shift on t’ loom

Or look at the angry Mancunian
Isn’t he funny? It’s all quite a hoot
As this rock star tells them all to “Fook off!”
While sipping champagne from a Chelsea boot

See, to me, it doesn’t sound like I speak.
Who, north of Watford Gap, ever said ‘oop’?
It seems you’re hoping to alienate;
Over half the country out of your loop?

Now call me pedantic, call me a loon
Or a peddler of verbose codswallop
But no word ending in double ‘o’ ‘p’
Has ever…EVER rhymed with the word ‘up’.

I recognise that some ‘double o’ words
Have different sounds…I learned that at school
Whereas you seemed to have missed that lesson
Which suggests to me you’re some kind of fool

I shan’t make YOU a point of ridicule
By inserting an ‘r’ in barth and darnce
Your accent is merely the consequence
Of those Normans who invaded from Frarnce

But I wouldn’t dream of writing like that
To set you apart, show you’re not like me
I really wouldn’t, although I suppose
I already have done…technically

You see we are not from another land
We’re not another skin colour or race
So what is it that you’re hoping to say
That it cannot be defined from my face?

If we’re reading the same words on the page
Why need you mention the way that they’re said?
Unless it’s to show you’re somehow better
That you see yourself as the thoroughbred?

We know full well what the images are
And all the inferences attending
It’s not geography at all but class
And the desire to be condescending

And to prove it’s not geographical
I’m more than sure that this elitist hack
Would if interviewing an Eastender
Make a point of misspelling the word ‘fack’

To prove this class war is all one way and
Not wishing to cock Nigella a snook
Should I need to make a gooseberry fool
I’ll be pleased to read her cookery book

To make a point you need adversity;
The pampered find it hard to be funny.
Life without the Royle Family, my arse!
And imagine no more Tastes of Honey.

We’re just glad our shops are open all hours
As the fresh-baked Hovis cools on the stoop
And if they’ve sold the last of summer wine
Then we could always nip round to the Coop…sorry that’s Co-op

© gray lightfoot